During my recent trip to Japan I came across a puzzle called Devil’s claw.
What followed was a moment (read: a very long moment) of struggle which ended up with a devastating and humiliating defeat of yours truly.
I was hooked.
And yes, I eventually cracked it :).
After coming back home I looked around online and found out that it’s actually a very old puzzle (1906) which many people enjoy for its simplicity and ‘playability’. Even if you solve it once, solving it again is still challenging and it takes some practice to master the moves. It has been revived in 80s by a Japanese company Hanayama. Of course, I immediately started hunting and quickly found a HK-based company that is selling other Hanayama’s puzzles locally. A quick trip to their outlet & the sales girl’s near-heart attack experience concluded with her offering me a discount and me coming back home with over 20 different Hanayama puzzles.
If you are curious, these are a few places in Hong Kong where you can buy Hanayama puzzles:
- Teen’s Channel in KITEC (Kowloon Bay) – many different variants [this is the outlet shop I mentioned earlier]
- Log On (Kowloon Tong, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, etc.) – quite a limited choice of puzzles though
The Hanayama products are also sold outside of Asia and it’s easy to find them on Amazon, Ebay and other shops. Just google around.
Some of the puzzles are relatively easy f.ex. the cast horse:
Some are quite evil e.g. cast square:
Solving them is a great fun and as I am slowly moving through my stack I can only say that if you like puzzles you will definitely enjoy the Cast series from Hanayama.
Here is the list of all available mechanical puzzles.
p.s. I am not sponsored by Hanayama and don’t take cut from their sales – they just make awesome puzzles and if you get bored with your smartphone games you will definitely have fun cracking these